Labour MP Shane Jones has denied he is defecting to New Zealand First.
Political pundit Matthew Hooton floated the scenario in a column today in the National Business Review, saying the maverick MP was becoming ever more indiscreet and he sees his recent behaviour as a pretext to either leave Labour or be expelled.
Hooton claimed Labour's rainbow division, unions and women's council all loathe Jones and he despises the Greens.
And he wrote that Jones sees himself and Winston Peters as "two Maori boys from the North'' who could hold the balance of power between National and a Labour-Green coalition.
"Shane Jones has got to look to the future. He doesn't like the Labour Party, the Labour Party doesn't like him. But there's a fantastic opportunity for him to become a New Zealand First MP and barnstorm the nation with Winston Peters.''
Hooton said the plan would be for Peters, who will be 72 at the 2017 election, to hand over the leadership of the party to Jones, who would be 59.
However on TVNZ's Breakfast show this morning Mr Jones quashed the claims and said he "absolutely" would be in the Labour Party at the next election.
"It'll be a long day in hell before I ever take my political advice from Matthew," he told the programme.
"His whole agenda is to create divisiveness and mischief on our side of politics."
- NewstalkZB and Herald online